Indian escapes from Abu Sayyaf captors in Sulu-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Friday, August 10, 2012
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Updated) -- An Indian national, who was kidnapped over a year ago, has escaped from al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf bandits in the island province of Sulu.
Sulu Provincial Police Director Antonio Freyra said Biju Kolara Veetil, 37, escaped at dawn Friday while his captors were busy preparing for breakfast.
Veetil, an operations manager of a garment factory in Kuwait, was found by residents in Patikul town around 3 a.m. He was turned over to policemen and local government officials around 4 a.m. Friday in Barangay Kadday Mampalam in Patikul.
Freyra, who described Veetil to be haggard and pale, said the kidnap victim is now in the custody of his command after undergoing medical check-up.
"He lost weight, more or less 20 kilos. But according to medical report, he is okay. He is pale because he couldn't go out but you can't see any bruises in his body," said Freyra.
Veetil later told reporters at a hospital that after he slipped out of the bandits’ encampment in the hinterlands of Patikul, a villager brought him to a provincial official, who handed him to police. He was then taken to the hospital.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits kidnapped Veetil on June 22, 2011 while he and his Filipina wife were visiting his in-laws in the village of Tempok, Patikul, Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, and is on the United States’ list of terrorist groups. The group is believed to currently beholding Australian, Malaysian and Japanese nationals in their jungle hideouts in the south.
But Veetil’s escape on Friday brought down the number of foreigners that are being held captive by the group in Sulu province to four.
The remaining captives are Toshio Ito, 63, Japanese; Lorenzo Vinciguerre, 47, Swiss; Ewold Horn, 52, Dutch; and Richard Warren Rodwell, 53, Australian.
Ito was abducted on July 16, 2010 in Pangutaran, an island municipality in Sulu, while Rodwell was seized from his residence on December 4, 2011 in Barangay Pangi, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Vinciguerre and Horn were abducted last February 1 while on a bird-watching trip at Panglima Sugala town in Tawi-Tawi.
Investigation and rescue operations continue for the remaining hostages. (With VR/AP/Sunnex)